Pluto At Opposition With A C8
Taken by Helio C. Vital on July 8, 2016 @ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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  Camera Used: Canon Canon EOS REBEL T1i
Exposure Time: 30/1
Aperture: f/inf
ISO: 12800
Date Taken: 2016:07:08 02:30:35
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My attempt to capture the very faint Pluto on the night of July 7-8 was successful. Although the dwarf planet had reached its opposition 7 hours earlier, it still was shining at magnitude 14.1, about one thousand times dimmer than the faintest star visible from Rio with the naked eye. So, in order to accomplish the challenging task, I attached my Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera to the primary focus of my Celestron 8 after running Skychart, a planetarium program that gave me the ephemeris data I needed to plan my observation. So I first aimed my super C8 to Saturn and adjusted its setting circles so that the coordinates of the planet could be read from them. Then I targeted Pi Sagittarii (m=2.88) (positioned only 0.2° from Pluto) by moving the telescope to the equatorial coordinates of the star. Finally, I moved the C8 slightly to the coordinates of Pluto and took several shots, using the highest speed of the camera (ISO 12800) and trying exposures ranging from 30 to 75 seconds between 5:30 and 5:45 UTC. Photoscape was used to improve contrast and sharpness and Paint to add labels. In order to be sure that the planet had indeed been captured, I carefully checked the photos by comparing them with the charts created by Skychart and I could pinpoint Pluto in all of them (a dozen in total were taken). Note that stars as faint as m=15 have been captured and stars down to magnitude 16 from UCAC4 catalogue had been charted by Skychart. The field of view shown in the photos is approximately centered at RA: 19h09.1m and Decl: -21°07.4, roughly encompassing about 20x15.
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